Honored Kid

Braxtyn W.

Age 8
Braxtyn W. Kid Photo

Location

Bell City, MO, US

Diagnosis

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (rare skin cancer)

Date of Diagnosis

May 2013

Status

Cancer free

Treated At

St. Louis Children's Hospital

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My Story

Thank you for supporting me and the more than 300,000 kids worldwide who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. By sharing the gifts of your time, talent and money with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, you're supporting research to give all kids with cancer a better chance for a cure. -Braxtyn My name is Brittni and I am Braxtyn's mom ('ma' as he calls me) and this is his story.   Braxtyn was born on September 27, 2012 with an extremely rare form of skin cancer called dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. When he was born he was premature and in the NICU at St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, MO. He had a spot on his left arm that looked like a birthmark. Although, we thought there was no need for concern, his neonatal physician wanted him to see a pediatric dermatologist in St. Louis just to be sure. When Braxtyn was 4 weeks old we made the 2 hour drive to St. Louis Children's Hospital and met with a pediatric dermatologist. She took pictures and measurements, but she thought it was just extra connective tissue and nothing to be too worried about. She asked to see us back in six months just to make sure. On April 25, 2013 I drove back to St. Louis for his six month check up. I was not at all worried or conconcerned going into his appointment. The doctor came in the room, looked at his arm, took measurements and compared. After a pause she said "it grew". My heart sank. I immediately knew something was wrong. But I remained calm. She went on to explain that she wanted to do a biopsy in the office to see what we were dealing with. She told me she wanted to find out what it was and this would include testing for some rare forms of skin cancer. Cancer. My heart was aching. I had a lump in my throat. My perfect and healthy almost 7 month old son was being tested for cancer. I was in disbelief. The doctor preformed the biopsy, put in a stitch and told me she would have results in 5-7 days but not to worry until they came in. As we walked to the car I held Braxtyn tight in my arms and just cried. I already knew. I had a mother's intuition. I called my husband, mom, mother-in-law and other friends and family and cried the whole way home. They all told me that we shouldn't worry until we got the results. But as his mother I already had that gut feeling. I already knew the answer I was going to get. We got home and tried to continue life as normal. But that thought was still in the back of my mind. My son was about to be diagnosed with cancer. I didn't know what to think. The 5th day of waiting for results came..and it went..nothing yet. The 6th day came..and it went..still nothing. May 1, 2013, the 7th day. I was busy doing something in the kitchen and my phone was on silent. I picked it up and saw a missed call from ten minutes earlier..and a voicemail. I called and checked it. It was the doctor..I needed to call her back. Right then I knew. I gathered my composure and went outside to call her. She answered and asked how I was. I responded with a shake in my voice that I was okay. She asked me to sit down. I said okay. She said Braxtyn's biopsy came back..it's a rare form of skin cancer. I lost it. I began crying uncuncontrollably as she just listened to me sob. She said I know you will have lots of questions but call me back after you calm down and we can talk and you can write all this down but we do want him to meet with a surgeon tomorrow. I said okay and hung up the phone. My earth was shattered. My world came crashing down. I ran inside and picked up my sleeping baby boy and held him in my arms and cried. The next few hours are a blur. I called his dad and our family and friends. Family showed up at our house. And I spoke with the doctor.. Braxtyn was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of skin cancer. Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. There is 1 case per million per year and only 2% of those are cancerous. There is no known cause of it. Most cases are in people ages 30-50. Surgery removes it but it is known to return. Sometimes in one year. Sometimes in ten. We just never know when it will come back. 5% of cases matastisizes to the lungs. That doesn't sound like many but but there aren't many cases of this cancer to begin with. Braxtyn had two surgeries. The first removed the full thickness of skin and fat. Cancer still remained. The second took muscle. Finally the cancer was gone. Braxtyn had a wound vac for a month which included going to St. Louis twice a week for dressing changes. June 3, 2013 Braxtyn had a skin graft done from his stomach. He continued to have the wound vac for a month. After all this was said and done he was addicted to oxycodone, a very strong pain medication. It took almost two months to wean him off of that. Although Braxtyn's battle was short and he didn't require chemo or radiation like most children with cancer do he still battled that monster we call cancer..and HE WON! At just 7 months old he showed me what strength is all about. No matter how much pain he was in or how many times he was put to sleep and underwent surgery or dressing changes he came out of it with a big smile on his face. He was always happy and laughing. Showing us all that we shouldn't be scared or upset because he was strong enough to fight this battle and win. We continue to go to St. Louis every 3-6 months to meet with his oncologist. He will be closely monitored the rest of his life because this cancer could come back at any point. Braxtyn is a lot luckier than most kids with cancer. I encourage you to please donate to this cause. You never think this could happen to you. You never think your child could get cancer. But the truth is they could. Seven kids are diagnosed every day with cancer. We have to raise funds to find cures for this. No child deserves to go through a battle with cancer. I encourage you to please donate to this cause. Don't just do it for Braxtyn. Do it for all children, those with or without cancer. Because you never know when it could be a child you know being diagnosed. Afterall, the day before my son was diagnosed I was also a mother to a child without cancer.

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